Detroit Tigers Designated Hitter Victor Martinez Registers 2,000th Career Hit

And the hits just keep coming for Victor Martinez

The 38-year-old Venezuelan baseball player, a designated hitter and first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, reached 2,000 career hits on Friday night.

Victor Martinez

Martinez, heard the crowd roar and felt his heart swell, as he picked up the milestone hit on the same field where he began his MLB career, against the franchise that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela.

Detroit’s switch-hitter singled in the second inning off Cleveland IndiansCarlos Carrasco to reach the plateau. After reaching first base, Martinez received a lengthy standing ovation from the large Cleveland crowd, fans that adored him during his eight seasons with the Indians from 2002-09.

Martinez hugged Detroit first-base coach Omar Vizquel, his teammate in Cleveland and a fellow Venezuelan, before tipping his cap to the crowd. Players on both benches applauded and the game was briefly halted to acknowledge the feat.

“It’s special to have it done here,” Martinez said following the Tigers’ 11-2 loss. “For me, it was even better. Nothing against the Indians, I feel like it’s where everything started for me. I will always remember this day, until I die. What the fans did to me with that ovation. It made me feel so proud and so good that they stand up for me. I just want to let them know too that I will always have the Indians in my heart, always.”

Martinez is the ninth active player to reach 2,000 hits, joining Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Matt Holliday and Jose Reyes.

To attain the milestone in Cleveland and with Vizquel, the career hits leader among Venezuelan-born players, at his side made it even more meaningful for Martinez.

“He congratulated me and told me it was awesome, and at the same time, I wasn’t hearing and stuff,” Martinez said. “It was a pretty cool moment.”

Martinez was a three-time All-Star with the Indians, who signed him in 1996. He broke down in tears when Cleveland traded him to the Boston Red Sox at the deadline in 2009 for three pitchers.

And although he’s had a long run with the Tigers, Cleveland will remain dear to Martinez.

“This is my seventh year in Detroit, but this was a place that I called home, and I’m always going to have Cleveland in my heart,” he said. “It was the team that gave me a chance to be a professional baseball player, gave me a chance to become a major leaguer. It’s a pretty special place.”

Martinez, too, is a pretty special hitter.

He entered the season with a .301 career average and the five-time All-Star has been one of the game’s toughest outs from the day he broke into the big leagues.

“There aren’t a lot of people who can say they got 2,000 major league hits,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He probably grinded out every single one of those at-bats to get those hits. It’s something he should be proud of.”

Escobar Named a Starter for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game

Alcides Escobar is having a season to remember…

The 28-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop is one of four Kansas City Royals players named American League starters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game being hosted by the Cincinnati Reds.

Alcides Escobar

Escobar, a first year pick, will be joined by his teammates Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain (outfielders) and Salvador Perez (catcher) as Royals reps for this year’s All-Star Game.

Much was said of the potential ballot-stuffing being done by Kansas City fans, but ultimately only four players from the AL Central leaders made it to the starting lineup. Long a doormat in the AL, the Royals have more starters this season than in the previous 25 years combined.

“It’s just been the support of our fans, really, over the last two years,” said Gordon, making his third straight All-Star appearance. “Winning brings attention and that’s what we’ve been doing. I think we play with a lot of energy, a lot of fun. People have noticed it.”

While the Royals may have led the way with the most players per team, the leading vote-getter came from north of the border.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson set a new record for all-time single-season voting with over 14 million total votes cast. Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper led all National League selections by garnering 13.9 million votes.

Only two teams placed multiple players on the All-Star rosters, the Royals, who won the AL pennant last season, and the Miami Marlins, who entered Sunday eight games under .500 and 11 games back in the NL East.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton were both voted to the NL squad, though Stanton won’t play in the Midsummer Classic.

Stanton, who signed a $325 million contract this offseason to stay in Miami, is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his hand. He’ll join Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (calf) and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday (quad) as All-Star starters who are on the DL.

The Reds will host the All-Star Game for the first time since 1988 and will be represented by Todd Frazier, who was voted the NL team’s starting third baseman.

“I was really nervous. I was excited. It was a huge comeback,” said Frazier, who went from trailing the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter by 2.5 million votes in June to winning the starting nod by 2.1 million. “I’m pretty much on Cloud Nine.”

All-Star pitchers, reserves and the finalists for the Final Vote will be announced Monday.

Royals manager Ned Yost and San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy will helm the AL and NL teams, respectively, when the 2015 All-Star Game is played Tuesday, July 14.

“We’re going to have a blast,” Yost said. “The All-Star Game is an experience you never forget, and to do it with so many of our teammates there is really special.”

In addition to Escobar, Perez and Cabrera, other Latino players selected as All-Star Game starters are Jose Altuve, Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta.

 

2015 MLB All-Star Game Starters
AL POS. NL
Miguel Cabrera, DET 1B Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
Jose Altuve, HOU 2B Dee Gordon, MIA
Alcides Escobar, KC SS Jhonny Peralta, STL
Josh Donaldson, TOR 3B Todd Frazier, CIN
Salvador Perez, KC C Buster Posey, SF
Mike Trout, LAA OF Bryce Harper, WAS
Lorenzo Cain, KC OF Giancarlo Stanton, MIA
Alex Gordon, KC OF Matt Holliday, STL
Nelson Cruz, SEA DH N/A